glitzfrau: (lowry)
[personal profile] glitzfrau
From about 4.00, [livejournal.com profile] biascut was getting a bit agitated on Facebook worrying about the rumours on Twitter. This struck me as a little too much social media fussing, so when she came home at five, I told her to stop being silly and to go out to her pottery class in the leafy suburbs. Sure if she would be safe anywhere, it would be in posh Chorlton! I sent her on her way, and decided to finish up work in favour of going to Boots for medicine for a very minor complaint. It's ten minutes' walk into the city centre from the houseen, and once I had crossed the boundary into the shopping area, the streets were thrumming with riot police. Glitzy Cathedral Street was filled with nervy teenagers and shoppers; all the high-end shops were shut up, apart from that palace of classiness, the UGG shop, smashed in and looted. Walking on, M&S had a smashed window, JB Sports was boarding itself up, and Boots was shut. Everything was shut. Well, shite. Home for me, dinner and more work.

Except as I came in, [livejournal.com profile] biascut came in too. She'd gone to meet her pottery chum @maerk for their ritual burrito-before-pottery at Piccadilly Gardens, locked up her bike, come out to find it turned upside down and the frame dented. Also, the busses to the leafy suburbs were cancelled. So that was that, and she was a little rattled. My father's hotel was on Piccadilly, and I started ringing him to no avail; probably, I consoled myself, he was in a lecture theatre, blissfully unaware of events.

The rest of the night was mostly Twitter, really, and trying to ring my father. I rang my mother in Dublin, who was maddeningly unconcerned, and said, 'Maybe your father is holed up in the university with a gun poking out of the castellated turrets!' Twitter told me Miss Selfridge was up in flames; the Arndale was broken into; Affleck's, the alternative market, was being looted; the shops under Brideshead Revisited's flat being looted (he was fine, but holed up in some alarm); Oxfam was being trashed; the police were chasing gangs of gurriers. Around eleven, I finally got through to my father, who had been at dinner in town only a few metres from the BBC's live riot cam.

'Do you want to come here, Daddy?' I asked, worried. 'It's quiet here, and I know it's hairy in Piccadilly'. 'Oh no, not after the Arndale!' he said. 'It's safer here... erm... there's a crowd of rioters running down the street outside my window... I've never seen so many... they must be organised... oh, there's riot police chasing them down the street... and now they're being encircled against my hotel...'

'Eek, you stay put!' I said, 'we're safe here at least... erm... is that smoke I smell? Oh look, a huge plume of smoke outside my bedroom window... erm... maybe I'd best investigate that'.

Damage done: a rather handsome but derelict Victorian pub set on fire at the edge of our estate, all the streets filled with smoke. I'm about to walk down Piccadilly to get the train, so that will be a little heartbreaking. My mother was supposed to come to Manchester tonight till Saturday, but she's not going to come now; the plan was to shop, and what's the point in that now?

In London, marginalised black people turned on their own areas in a horrifying exhibition of rage and nihilism. Here in Manchester, white kids came in from the suburbs to loot Armani and Ugg. Teenagers testing boundaries, as teenagers do, and going that little bit further than underage drinking in underpasses and smash-and-grab raids on parked cars. It didn't take these riots to tell me that there's an enormous amount of social deprivation and exclusion in Greater Manchester, sure there always has been, since the industrial revolution. Yes, UK society needs changing, and my friend English Thomas optimistically hopes that these events will unmask the bankruptcy of aristocratic rule, but the riots tell us nothing other than that teenagers running riot can go way too far. Shite.

I had grown so proud of the handsome fabric of Manchester and the ambitious building projects that even now, in the thick of the recession, were springing up everywhere around my house. I can only hope that the vandalism acts as a catalyst for renewal, like the IRA bomb. And the worst of it was thinking of my elderly nervy father, alone in his glass tower in the heart of the violence, and me unable to help him one bit other than being on the other end of the phone. Awful. I wonder if my parents will ever come back.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-10 08:15 am (UTC)
felinitykat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] felinitykat
So so so sorry love, and sending you heartfelt empathy from here. Your poor father. Stay safe today. xxx

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-10 08:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ms-siobhan.livejournal.com
I hope things are much quieter today and that your Dad isn't too distressed and that they both come back to visit lots.



(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-10 10:45 am (UTC)
ext_37604: (Default)
From: [identity profile] glitzfrau.livejournal.com
Thanks, love. My father is shaken but determined to do daytime tourism at least.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-10 09:07 am (UTC)
ext_550458: (Leeds Parkinson building)
From: [identity profile] strange-complex.livejournal.com
I'm about to walk down Piccadilly to get the train

Oh, that sounds like it means you are on campus today. If so, do you want to have lunch? I have to see a student at 2, but we could meet at 1 or even 12:30 to ensure we get plenty of time to chat.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-10 04:10 pm (UTC)
ext_37604: (fion by oddcellist)
From: [identity profile] glitzfrau.livejournal.com
Thank you so much for taking me out for a chat! It really helped.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-10 04:24 pm (UTC)
ext_550458: (Sebastian boozes)
From: [identity profile] strange-complex.livejournal.com
My pleasure! I hope your meeting was less explosive than you'd feared.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-10 09:49 am (UTC)
ext_20929: (Default)
From: [identity profile] chiasmata.livejournal.com
So glad you're both all right, and your father too - close proximity to rioters notwithstanding.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-10 04:08 pm (UTC)
ext_37604: (Default)
From: [identity profile] glitzfrau.livejournal.com
Thanks, love. My father went on a skite to Tatton Hall today, so I think he's cheering up.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-10 10:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] therealjo.livejournal.com
God it's scary isn't it. And so sad too.
Glad you're both ok x

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-10 04:08 pm (UTC)
ext_37604: (Default)
From: [identity profile] glitzfrau.livejournal.com
Thanks a million. It's rotten, but I hope it's just one night.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-10 10:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chiller.livejournal.com
That all sounds enormously stressful and disconcerting. :( I'm sure your parents will understand that this is just ... something that's never happened before. Something that will probably never happen again. xx

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-10 04:10 pm (UTC)
ext_37604: (Default)
From: [identity profile] glitzfrau.livejournal.com
I hope they will understand that. It's a bit of a change for them - they came from safe England to strife-torn Ireland in the 1970s, and things have suddenly reversed in their expectations of the world.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-10 04:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chiller.livejournal.com
This sort of thing happens in every society, from time to time, alas.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-10 11:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tafagirl.livejournal.com
I'm following the news over here in a sort of daze. It boggles my mind, and yet, like you, I'm not surprised :-( Being poor in the UK is so much harsher than over here.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-10 11:48 am (UTC)
ext_37604: (Default)
From: [identity profile] glitzfrau.livejournal.com
Absolutely. I couldn't agree more.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-10 12:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tafagirl.livejournal.com
I sometimes wonder whether we should've stuck it out in Birmingham in 2005. But when we ran out of EU unemployment funding and weren't even close to breaking through we just couldn't imagine staying in that overpriced mouldy damp Victorian hell-hole we lived in and dealing with the UK job centre scene. Seriously, the central Birmingham JC had no toilets for security reasons (@#%!), and you couldn't use the lift with your case worker unless someone from security got into the lift with you! WTF?

I feel so protected at the bosom of dull Mother Germany these days ...

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-10 11:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] biascut.livejournal.com
We'll never mock your dad for insisting on off-road parking again.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-10 11:49 am (UTC)
ext_37604: (links)
From: [identity profile] glitzfrau.livejournal.com
Lord no! I'm thinking of walking to Salford university tomorrow to save my bike, even.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-10 01:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ideealisme.livejournal.com
saw Salford come up on last night's news. Glad you're safe and your dad too. Sorry to hear about the bike.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-10 04:10 pm (UTC)
ext_37604: (links)
From: [identity profile] glitzfrau.livejournal.com
Thank you! All a bit overexciting really.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-10 05:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] antepacem.livejournal.com
STUPID POOEY RIOTS!!! This is making me so sad.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-18 07:54 am (UTC)
ext_37604: (jesusgun)
From: [identity profile] glitzfrau.livejournal.com
Oh well, they're over now! And the looting of the poor by the rich continues with the added excuse of punishing them for the riots. Did you hear that the government is trying to evict the families of child rioters from their council houses?

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-10 07:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mollydot.livejournal.com
*hugs* :-(

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-18 07:53 am (UTC)
ext_37604: (Default)
From: [identity profile] glitzfrau.livejournal.com
Thanks, love.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-10 10:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] forthwritten.livejournal.com
Glad you're all safe, and I hope tonight's much quieter.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-18 07:53 am (UTC)
ext_37604: (jesusgun)
From: [identity profile] glitzfrau.livejournal.com
...and now it's all quietened down, I am horrified again at the evil government response. Masks are all off now.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-18 12:14 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Yeah, it's why I couldn't find it in me to be incredibly outraged by the riots. Of course they were scary and damaging, but the Government's response is going to be so much more so. And now they have an excuse and justification for their cuts and inequality and basic lack of compassion. It's going to be destructive in a way that the riots can't be.